Lucid Motors doesn’t have the money yet to build a factory and make the Air, an all-electric luxury sedan among many considered to be potential Tesla-killers. But the nascent automaker has shown it’s at least capable of producing a car that goes super fast: A video released on Monday shows an Air prototype flying around a racetrack at 235 mph.
Back in April, Lucid said it refitted an Air prototype with a roll-cage and large rear spoiler to evaluate the car’s “at-the-limit performance” on a 7.5 mile track in Ohio. At the time, the car was software-limited to 217 mph. Now, Lucid says, it found the car can actually jump to 235 mph, when the software speed-limiter is removed.
Lucid explained what changed before the recent test, in a blog post on Monday:
Before heading back out for a second test, we made a few adjustments based on what we learned. The air suspension required a software update to improve responsiveness when loaded heavily. The front motor required updates to coolant flow and ventilation. New, aerodynamically efficient wheels were fitted. Last but not least, we removed the speed limiter to see what a Lucid Air alpha prototype was capable of achieving.
Sure, it’s tiring to hear about the speed-obsession with new EVs—but 235 mph is goddamn fast. Lucid removed the speed-limiting software, but it doesn’t elaborate on how the prototype managed to clock 235 mph. Does the car, for example, have a multi-speed gearbox? A spokesperson wouldn’t say.
“We haven’t disclosed any details about transmission in the Alpha Speed Car or the production car,”the spokesperson, David Salguero, said. “What we’re doing here is testing the limits of the platform and production-intent components.”
Whether this is production-specific couldn’t be answered, either.
“We’ll announce production transmission and VMax details down the road.,” Salguero said.
But the automaker suggested in the blog post that 235 isn’t the final production top speed for the Air.
“What it does represent, however, is further proof that the Lucid Air is a vehicle without compromise, one that offers incredible performance and dynamics, yet still offers remarkable space and comfort for a sublime luxury experience,” Lucid said.
The automaker has been up-front about its slow crawl to bring the Air to life. The base model of the vehicle is expected to price around $60,000, before incentives, and Lucid says it’ll have a claimed range of 240 miles. Lucid says a $100,000 “well-optioned” Air will carry 1000 HP and a claimed range of 400 miles.
But the automaker said in April that it needs to secure additional financing before it can break ground on a factory in Arizona. Without the extra funds, Lucid’s goal of launching production of the Air in 2018 could be delayed a year.
Salguero didn’t elaborate on where Lucid’s fundraising stands as of Monday.
“I can tell you that Lucid’s Series D fundraising continues and that it is going very well,” Salguero said. “But I can’t give any details beyond that.”